Scrapping the Coach: A 2023 Change at Nashville
Old coach, new coach is talk of the town
Coach Mike Volarvich took the Nashville Scrappers to the 4A-7’s football playoffs, earning a No. 3 seed this year.
The Scrappers won the first round of the playoffs on Nov. 10 against the Crossett Eagles 41-36.
In the second playoff round the Scrappers barely lost their game to the Central Arkansas Christian Mustangs, 59-50, on Nov. 17.
Volarvich ended with a 8-4 winning season. In fact, Volarvich only had one losing Scrapper season (4-6) in 2021-22.
In 2015, Volarvich arrived in Nashville and took the Scrappers to a 15-0 season that paved the way to the playoffs and the state championship. He was named conference coach of the year by a regional newspaper and the Little Rock Touchdown Club.
But the Volarvich era is over in Nashville, a town of 4,112 people that that lives for its legendary Friday night lights.
Why Volarvich is no longer the coach is the big question in this small southwest Arkansas town.
Under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, South Arkansas Reckoning obtained documents about Volarvich and his replacement, Shawn Jackson.
On Dec. 1, 2023, the school sent this press release to media that Volarvich was notified Nov. 28, his contract would not be renewed. That was only 11 days after the final Scrappers game.
South Arkansas Reckoning obtained the letter sent to Volarvich from long-time Nashville Superintendent Doug Graham.
Sources tell South Arkansas Reckoning that Volarvich still teaches at the high school. He did not attend Saturday night's annual Rotary Club dinner honoring the football team. Sources also said his daughter had a sporting event at the same time, and he likely attended that.
Volarvich's contract with the Nashville School District expires on June 30.
Graham provided a list of coaches who applied for the coaching job.
On Friday, Dec. 22, which was the start of the Christmas weekend, the school board met in a special-called afternoon session and voted to hire Jackson as head football coach in a 4-1 vote. Board member Tem Gunter was the sole “no” vote.
Who is Shawn Jackson?
Jackson was the head football coach this past season at Hayti, Missouri, where he graduated high school. Jackson coached in Hayti for one year. He left with a 1-8 record in the 2023 season.
Prior to Hayti, he coached in Cadillac, Michigan, for one year. He left there after one season with a 5-5 record.
Jackson moved from Camden County High School in Georgia to Crossett for the Eagles’ coaching job during the 2020-22 seasons.
In Jackson's first season with the Eagles, he led the team to a 6-2 season and first in the 4A Region 8 conference. His second season record was 9-4 and the Eagles were second in the conference.
He resigned in April 2022 from Crossett to take the Michigan job in order to be closer to his in-laws, according to a news report.
Jackson was the head football coach at McCracken County in Paducah, Kentucky, from 2015-2017.
Leading the Scrappers
Jackson's 117-day contract with the Scrappers began Jan. 8, 2024, and ends June 30, 2024. According to his contract, Jackson will also be assistant junior high football coach and assistant athletic director
Jackson did not attend Saturday night's Rotary Club football banquet because of a funeral in Hayti, according to sources.
Read our first story about the Nashville School District here:
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